WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John Boozman (R-AR) have introduced the Access Technology Affordability Act of 2017, legislation to create a refundable tax credit to offset the cost of access technology for blind Americans.
“Making access technology affordable is critical to ensuring that blind and seeing impaired individuals can participate fully in our communities and have equal access to every opportunity,” said Cardin. “I am proud to be a lead cosponsor on this legislation, which gives blind Marylanders, and all blind Americans, flexible economic support to help them lead full and successful lives.”
“As an optometrist, I know firsthand how important access technology is for blind Americans trying to engage in their communities. With almost 60 percent of blind Americans unemployed, I am pleased to introduce this commonsense legislation to increase the availability and reduce the financial burden associated with these items to ensure the visually impaired receive the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, the workplace and within the community,” Boozman said.
Access technology includes adapted computers, text-to-speech screen access software and electronic Braille displays used to access computers, tablets, smart phones, as well as digital content.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives David Young (R-IA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). The legislation has the support of the National Federation of the Blind.